Best Shower Head Filters (for Hard Water) – Reviews & Guide 2021

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A great shower filter reduces the amount of harmful contaminants in your shower water which will benefit your skin, hair and nails as well as your overall health – time to say goodbye to itchiness, dryness and irritation.

Plus it neutralizes unpleasant water odors allowing you to enjoy your daily showers to the limit.

On top of that, most shower filters are inexpensive and easy to install without the need to make any permanent changes to your plumbing. What better solution is there to improve how you look and feel?

How to find a good or the best shower water filter? You are about to find out!

On This Page You Will…

Best Shower Filters Comparison List

ModelOur RatingPriceTypeFilt. CapacityAnnual CostModel
AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF100 – Best for Hair Loss

Read Review

$Multi-Stage10,000 gal$$AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF100 – Best for Hair Loss

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Multi-Stage
Filt. Capacity: 10,000 gal
Annual Cost: $$

Read Review

AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF220 – Best Universal Shower Filter

Read Review

$Multi-Stage10,000 gal$$AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter
AquaBliss SF220 – Best Universal Shower Filter

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Multi-Stage
Filt. Capacity: 10,000 gal
Annual Cost: $$

Read Review

Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Water Filter + Softener
Culligan WSH-C125 – Best Shower Head Filter for Hard Water (Softener)

Read Review

$Multi-Stage10,000 gal$$Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Water Filter + Softener
Culligan WSH-C125 – Best Shower Head Filter for Hard Water (Softener)

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Multi-Stage
Filt. Capacity: 10,000 gal
Annual Cost: $$

Read Review

Luxsego Hand-Held Ionic Water Shower Head
Luxsego – Best Ionic Shower Head

Read Review

$Ionic6-8 Weeks$Luxsego Hand-Held Ionic Water Shower Head
Luxsego – Best Ionic Shower Head

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Ionic
Filt. Capacity: 6-8 Weeks
Annual Cost: $

Read Review

Sonaki Shower Filter with Vitamin C
Best Vitamin C Shower Filter for Chlorine

Read Review

$$$Vitamin C1-2 Months$$Sonaki Shower Filter with Vitamin C
Best Vitamin C Shower Filter for Chlorine

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Type: Vitamin C
Filt. Capacity: 1-2 Months
Annual Cost: $$

Read Review

Miniwell Shower Filter
No Green Light For: Miniwell L720-X Shower Filter

$$Multi-Stage13,000 gal$$$Miniwell Shower Filter
No Green Light For: Miniwell L720-X Shower Filter

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Type: Multi-Stage
Filt. Capacity: 13,000 gal
Annual Cost: $$$

Reviews of Popular & Top Rated Shower Filters

1. AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter – Best for Hair and Skin & AquaBliss SF220 – Best Universal Shower Filter

AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter

AquaBliss SF100 Shower Filter – Best for Hair Loss

Filter Life:10,000 gal
NSF Standard:

Our Rating

AquaBliss SF220 Shower Filter Review

AquaBliss SF220 – Best Universal Shower Filter

Filter Life:10,000 gal
NSF Standard:

Our Rating


We thought it would be a good idea to start this review series with the AquaBliss SF100 and SF220 shower filters since they are so well received and among the most popular on Amazon.

Both combine multi-stage filtration – calcium sulfite, KDF 55 and activated carbon among others – to neutralize odors and tackle common water impurities like chlorine, lead, mercury, nickel, bacteria and pesticides (as per manufacturer).

Furthermore, the growth of algae, fungi and mold is inhibited. In addition, a micro-porous polypropylene cotton layer helps to get rid of sediment and dust.

Please note: Chloramine content won’t be affected.

The difference between the two is that the AquaBliss SF100 not only reduces a wide range of contaminants, it also infuses your water with revitalizing minerals and vitamin C that are supposed to rejuvenate dry, itchy skin as well as brittle hair and nails.

Total filter stages: 12. Filtration capacity: 10,000 gallons of water or up to 6 months. This is pretty standard for a shower filter and keeps maintenance requires down to a minimum.

The SF220 on the other hand is a “heavy duty shower filter” that aims at removing as many contaminants from your shower water as possible without adding anything back into it.

Total filtering stages: 7. Filtration capacity: 10,000 to 12,000 gallons or 6 – 8 months.

By the way, we are talking about inline filters that you can use with the shower head of your choice thanks to the standard ½” connections. Compatible shower types include fixed, rain and handheld.

Installation is easy and can be done within a couple of minutes – no tools needed (sealing tape provided). And if you require any help, the AquaBliss customer service is knowledgeable and quickly to respond.


What we miss are NSF certifications that back the manufacturer’s claims regarding contaminant removal capabilities. It would also be helpful to know exact reduction rates.

In fact, some customers complained about a lack of improvement in water quality with the AquaBliss SF100/220 shower filter installed (pH, chlorine and heavy metals tests showed no detectable differences).

What’s more, although we have a chrome finish, the plastic casing is prone to leaking.

And lastly, both units will lower the height of your shower head which can be a pain depending on your current setup. This is a problem that many standard shower filters cause, though.

Our Verdict

The majority of people love the AquaBliss SF100 and SF220 shower filters. They report about skin and hair that feels noticeably softer and looks healthier.

Also, the price seems fair. Just keep in mind that these are all-rounders. Don’t expect the most sophisticated water purification process. 4 stars from us!

2. Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Head Filter – Best for Hard Water?

Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Head Filter & Softener

Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Head Filter – Top Pick for Hard Water

Filter Life:10,000 gal
NSF Standard:177

Our Rating


Culligan which is headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois is a global player and well-known company in the water treatment products industry.

The Culligan WSH-C125 filtered shower head can be used to remove free available chlorine from tap water (tested according to NSF/ANSI Standard 177; up to 99% removal but at least 50%) that would otherwise damage your hair follicles and cause dry and itchy skin.

At the same time, the filter reduces sulfur odor and mineral scale allowing you to enjoy a refreshing shower experience for a maximum of 10,000 gallons of water or 6 months – whichever comes first.

Another benefit are the filter’s bacteriostatic properties that limit passage and growth of bacteria which increases the overall cleanliness of your shower water.

Water flow rate? 2 gallons per minute which is pretty standard so it’s unlikely that you will notice a significant pressure drop.

What’s more, the filter is easy to install within minutes on any standard ½” threaded shower arm with no tools required.

In addition to that, it’s backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty. The price for replacement filter cartridges is reasonable.

As an alternative to the WSH-C125 filtered shower head you can also opt for Culligan’s HSH-C135 hand-held shower water filter. Both feature a sleek chrome finish and offer 5 spray settings to “suit your mood“.


To be honest, the Culligan WSH-C125 is nowhere near perfect. Yes, it does improve water quality but not a lot.

And what’s more important, for most people the filter lasts no more than 2 to 3 months, so not even close to what’s advertised. This means that more frequent cartridge replacements are necessary adding to the cost.

Our Verdict

No more ashy elbows, softer hair and an overall improvement of the condition of your skin – sounds good to us. 4 stars for the Culligan WSH-C125 hard water shower filter!

3. Luxsego Hand-Held High-Pressure Ionic Shower Head Review

Luxsego Hand-Held High-Pressure Ionic Water Shower Head

Luxsego Hand-Held High-Pressure Ionic Shower Head

Filter Life:6-8 Weeks
NSF Standard:

Our Rating


Being the most popular ionic shower head on Amazon at the time of writing this guide, the Luxsego is a hand-held device with 2 functions:

  1. Enriching your shower water with minerals that your skin can absorb making it more elastic. The minerals are also supposed to promote blood circulation and thus delay skin aging.
  2. Trapping contaminants, first and foremost chlorine, to restore a balance in your skin’s oil glands which will increase its smoothness and lead to reduced oil secretion and increased cell viability, says Luxsego.

Whether or not these claims are true remains to be proven. All we can say right now is that the majority of customers are more than happy with their purchase.

How does the shower filter work? It stores bioactive stones in its transparent head. The infrared and anion mineral beads do all the magic. By the way, the manufacturer recommends to change the beads every 6 to 8 weeks. They are available on Amazon.

Another cool thing is that you can not only choose between 3 different spray patterns (rainfall, jetting, massage), the metal penal also increases water pressure a.k.a. speed by as much as 200%. Flow rate: 2.5 gpm.

Plus the updated hose is more flexible, corrosion resistant, high-pressure resistant and comes with a 360° rotary joint making it tangle-free for ease of use.

Last but not least, the Luxsego shower water filter is easy to install, fits any ½” standard-sized hose, is detachable for easy cleaning and comes with a replacement hose and holder – how convenient!


For some users the casing on the plastic head cracked after a couple weeks/months of use which caused leaking. In addition, it’s a bit hard to bend the head. And the beads may cause clogging. So overall, the whole setup could do with a quality improvement.

What’s more, the nozzles in the filtered shower head are tiny. The water that comes out is more like a mist than a stream which feels very soft and refreshing but we assume not everyone will like. Above that, it’ll soak your bathroom if you don’t pay attention.

And, as so often the case, we miss NSF certifications.

Our Verdict

Ionic shower heads are somewhat experimental. But even if you don’t see an improvement in the condition of your water, skin and hair, the Luxsego ionic shower head will make you feel relaxed. That alone is worth 4 stars from us.

4. Aquasana AQ-4100 Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head

Aquasana AQ-4100 Shower Filter with massaging shower head

Aquasana AQ-4100 Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head

Filter Life:10,000 gal
NSF Standard:177

Our Rating


The Aquasana AQ-4100 shower filter comes in 4 different versions:

  1. With a massaging handheld chrome wand
  2. With a massaging handheld wand
  3. With a massaging shower head
  4. Without shower head so you can use your own

No matter which option you choose, you always get the same filter cartridge that is rated at 10,000 gallons of water or 6 months, whichever comes first. The provided water flow rate is 2.5 gpm which is the standard.

As for the filtration, first KDF 55 media removes some chlorine and balances water pH.

The subsequent activated charcoal layer helps to further reduce chlorine and other synthetic chemicals including VOCs – think herbicides and pesticides.

According to Aquasana, the shower filter can also lower lead, mercury, iron, hydrogen sulfide and chloramine content. However, it was certified against NSF Standard 177 for chlorine reduction only (>87% after 10,000 gallons).

Other advantages are:

  • Upflow design – shower head will remain at its old height so you have enough space to stand comfortably
  • Limited one-year warranty – covers defects in materials or workmanship in manufacturing
  • Filter replacements – quick and easy without the need for tools


  • Replacement cartridges seem pricey.
  • Aquasana does not provide any test data to prove water contamination reduction claims except for chlorine.
  • Some people complained about units falling apart. At least Aquasana’s customer support does a solid job and sends replacements in no time.
  • The nozzle is too short to accommodate larger shower heads.

Our Verdict: Good Choice but Expensive

This Aquasana filter focuses on getting the chlorine out of your shower water. For most users it makes a noticeable difference in their water quality – water that is free from chlorine odor and that doesn’t cause dry hair and itchy skin.

Our verdict: 4 out of 5 stars!

5. Sonaki – Best Vitamin C Shower Filter

Sonaki Shower Filter with Vitamin C Water Dechlorinator

Sonaki Vitamin C Shower Filter

Filtration:Vitamin C
Filter Life:1-2 Months
NSF Standard:

Our Rating


The Sonaki SUF-100V outperforms any other shower filter when it comes to chlorine removal. As water passes through it, vitamin C dissolves and neutralizes 99.9% of all chlorine and/or chloramine (test data provided).

FYI: Only shower filters based on Vitamin C are that effective.

On a side note, the Sonaki uses natural pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C recovered from oranges so no need to worry about quality issues here.

Also, the unit can be upgraded with an additional 5-stage water filter (Puremax) that removes a range of contaminants including particles, turbidity, rust, lead, phenols, chromium-6 and THMs.

Each vitamin C cartridge has a lifetime of approx. 3 to 6 months or up to 2,640 gallons of water, says Sonaki.

However, this is an ideal value and rather unrealistic. Most users have to insert a new cartridge about every month or so (more on this in a bit).

The good news is that the cartridges are translucent so that you can tell when they are empty.

A wrench for opening the filter is included and the whole replacement process is fairly easy.

Lastly, we like the durable brass material. The whole setup attaches easily before your shower head and will affect its height and positioning only slightly for comfortable standing.


By far the biggest drawback is the purchase price of the Vitamin C cartridges which go fairly quickly so that you are probably looking at monthly or bi-monthly replacements, which means that costs will start to add up. What’s good, you can simply refill the cartridges yourself. All you need is some food-grade vitamin C powder.

Another problem is that the filter may not drain properly after you’ve turned off your shower. As a result, the remaining water will dilute the vitamin C in the cartridge which will then flush out the next time you turn on the shower.

You can work around this design flaw by turning the filter upside down so that the chamber points downward and all the water will drain out. If that doesn’t help, try to loosen the nut above the filter where it attaches to the outlet pipe to allow a possible vacuum to break – not the most elegant solution, but it works.

That being said, Vitamin C quickly degrades in water so you have to make sure that the powder doesn’t stay wet at all cost.

Our Verdict: Our Number One Vitamin C Shower Filter

There is no doubt that this chlorine water filter really works. Most people love it and if you do your own refills, it’s inexpensive to maintain over the long run. One of the best vitamin C shower filters for sure. 4.5 stars!

6. CuZn – Best Bath Water Filter

Shower Filter Alternative: CuZn Bath Ball Purifier for Bath Water

CuZn Bath Ball Filter for Bath Water

Filtration:Bath Ball
Filter Life:12 Months
NSF Standard:

Our Rating

Filling the tub from your shower head may be possible in your bathroom, but it’s probably not the most convenient solution out there. Instead, why not try a bathtub water filter?


Finding the best bathtub water filter on the market hasn’t been easy, and we don’t feel like we’ve found the perfect option to be honest.

Anyway, the CuZn Bath Ball can be strapped onto your bathtub faucet and is supposed to soften your bath water for smooth and silky skin & hair.

CuZn says that the U.S. made filter reduces dirt, sediment, odors, chlorine and lead for up to 12 months of use, although 12 months seems a bit far-fetched.

Is the filter refillable? Yes, it is. The so called PowerDisk replacement filters are available on Amazon.

You can choose between the BB-104 which eliminates free and combined chlorines, whereas the BB-104-85 was designed for chloramine reduction. Both work with non-carbon based media and are 100% eco-friendly (recyclable).

Lifetime warranty on the housing? Check!


As usual, the biggest issue that we have is that the manufacturer does not provide a performance data sheet with specific contaminant reduction rates, so we cannot tell how effective this water filter really is.

All we know is that for some users it seems to work. Others say it doesn’t (water chlorine level remained the same).

Also, the CuZn Bath Ball is just not very practical since it’s hard to keep directly under the faucet.

Our Verdict: Not the Best Filter on the Market

The CuZn Bath Ball is for people who want a quick, easy and affordable solution to fill their bathtub with kinda filtered water. Most reviews are positive with customers seeing an improvement in the health of their skin and hair. 3 stars!

CuZn Bath Water Filter Alternative

CuZn bath water filter alternative: The Rainshow’r Crystal Bath Ball.

7. Sprite Shower Filters

Sprite SL-CM Slim-Line Universal H2O Shower Water Filter

Sprite SL-CM Slim-Line Shower Filter

Filter Life:6 Months
NSF Standard:177

Our Rating


Sprite Industries, Inc. offers a whole range of shower purifiers from hand-held and filtered shower heads to universal inline filters.

The latter can be placed between any existing shower head and shower arm for easy customization (fit industry standard ½” NPT threading), allowing you to keep your existing setup.

Inside every Sprite filter is Chlorgon, a patented blend of copper, zinc and calcium sulfide. “While housing styles can come and go, these cartridges will stay the same”, says the manufacturer.

In other words: The filter version you choose will not influence water quality.

The only difference is that the hand-held filters (model HHC) have a life of up to 3 months, whereas Slim-Line filters (model SLC) last for 6 and High Output filters (model HOC) for as long as 12 months.

FYI: Over time the filter material will change from golden to black. This is a helpful indicator that it’s time to replace the cartridge.

What does Chlorgon do? It converts free chlorine (NSF Standard 177 certified) and some combined chlorines to harmless chloride salt. The salt does not evaporate easily even in very hot water and is too large to be absorbed by your skin.

Other contaminants that will be removed from your shower water include dirt, sediment, odors, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and iron oxides.

Another benefit is that Chlorgon itself works well with cold AND hot water temperatures.

Did we mention that the filter cartridges are recyclable?

Example One: The Slim-Line 2

  • Link
  • Universal shower filter (use your own head)
  • Dial-A-Date indicator reminds you when to change the filter
  • 3 different finishes to choose from (white, chrome, white with chrome trim)
  • Water pressure: High (2.0 – 2.5 gpm)
  • Extends shower head as little as 1.5″

Example Two: The High-Output 2 with Massaging Head

  • Link
  • 4 different finishes to choose from (white, chrome, gold, brushed nickel)
  • Water pressure: High (2.0 – 2.5 gpm)


What we don’t like is that opening the filter housing can be a real pain. It is supposed to simply unscrew but after months of use it is likely to be sealed tight.

One solution to this is to use two strap wrenches – be careful, the housing has a tendency to break. Another option is to pour white vinegar on the joint and let it sit for a while.

In addition, filters might not reach their specified capacity so more frequent replacements are required.

Two minor drawbacks are that you might see a slight drop in water pressure and small leaks.

Our Verdict

All in all, if you struggle with skin and/or respiratory problems due to free chlorine in your shower water, Sprite shower filters can make a huge difference. They work well for months. Acceptable performance, great price!

8. Berkey Water Filter with Massaging Shower Head

Berkey Shower Filter

Berkey Water Filter with Massaging Shower Head

Filter Life:20,000 gal
NSF Standard:

Our Rating


Next on our list, the Berkey shower water filter which can either be used with your own or Berkey’s optional massage shower head reduces up to 95% chlorine.

Above that, it takes care of some of the hydrogen sulfide, lead, scale and rust that might be lurking in your water. The KDF 55 filtering media also helps to control mold and fungi and inhibit bacteria from growing inside your shower head.

Besides, the unit is effective for both hot and cold water, says Berkey.

One filter cartridge lasts between 20,000 and 25,000 gallons of water or up to one year.

Installation? Don’t worry, it’s a piece of cake. Plus you get a 6-month manufacturer warranty.


Not all users saw a difference in the quality of their water before and after installing the Berkey shower filter. According to the company, high chloramine content can compromise chlorine reduction which might explain the ineffectiveness in some cases.

We also read reports from people that experienced a considerable drop in water pressure and flow after some time.

Although Berkey provides a backflushing feature that allows the removal of accumulated debris, the filters don’t always reach their claimed capacity. More frequent replacements add to the costs.

Our Verdict

Online feedback for Berkey’s shower water filter is A+. Most customers would recommend the unit to their friends and family, and so do we! Our rating: 4 stars.

9. AquaHomeGroup Shower Water Filter with Vitamin C (No Head)

AquaHomeGroup Shower Water Filter

AquaHomeGroup Shower Water Filter with Vitamin C

Filter Life:10,000 gal
NSF Standard:

Our Rating


What we have here is a universal shower water filter that fits all industry standard connections (0.5″) and that features multi-stage filtration:

  • Stage one is an ultra-fine stainless steel mesh for filtering large particles.
  • Filter stage 2 is a polypropylene cotton layer that tackles turbidity, sediments, rust, and bacteria.
  • At stage 3 we have another high-density stainless steel mesh.
  • The next stage makes use of alkaline ceramic balls that enhance your water with natural minerals.
  • Maifan stone adds even more minerals to your water. Both mineral media are supposed to restores your body’s pH balance.
  • A blend of copper and zinc (KDF 55) reduces heavy metals as well as chlorine and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Stage 7 consists of microporous ceramic balls.
  • At filter stage 8, Vitamin C is used to neutralize chlorine/chloramine used for municipal water disinfection.
  • Filtration stage 9 is made up of coconut shell granular activated carbon that traps chemicals, mainly volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Germanium balls help to detox your body, increase blood oxygen content and boost your immune system.
  • Stage 11 is most important as calcium sulfite further reduces heavy metals such as lead and iron in addition to residual chlorine.
  • At stage 12, tourmaline and germanium stones provide benefits similar to a far infrared therapy.
  • Stage 13, 14 and 15 are identical to the first three filter stages.

All in all, the goal is to remove as many unpleasant odors and contaminants from your shower water as possible to counter skin dryness, dandruff, and improve the overall health of your skin, hair and nails.

According to the company, the AquaHomeGroup filter also prevents the growth of algae and mold inside your shower head.

One filter cartridge lasts for up to 6 months under ideal conditions. 2 cartridges are included in the package.


Some customers have noticed a slight drop in water pressure. Others struggled with leaks. Apart from that, nothing out of the ordinary.

Customer support seems to be excellent while the instructions could do with an upgrade.

Our Verdict: Solid Shower Filter

Bottom line: If you want a better shower experience and healthier skin, definitely give the AquaHomeGroup filter a try. It does a great job for the majority of people!

Comparison List: All Shower Filters at a Glance

ProductsAdditional Information & Notes
AquaBliss SF100 Shower FilterBest for Skin and Hair, Removes Chlorine, Heavy Metals, Bacteria, Pesticides, Sediment and More, Subtle Design, Easy to Install
AquaBliss SF220 Shower FilterFilters Chlorine, Heavy Metals, Bacteria and More, Subtle Design, Easy to Install
Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Head FilterCertified to Filter Chlorine, Reduces Mineral Scale, Subtle Design
Luxsego Hand-Held High-Pressure Ionic Shower HeadSmoothes Skin
Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Filter with Massaging Shower HeadCertified to Filter Chlorine for Skin Health, Also Lowers Chloramine and Heavy Metals
Sonaki Vitamin C Shower FilterNeutralizes Chlorine + Chloramine
CuZn Bath BallPromises Healthier Skin and Hair, BB-104-85 Disc Reduces Chloramine, No Installation, Lifetime Warranty on Housing
Sprite SL-CM Slim-Line Shower FilterConverts Free Chlorine to Chloride Salt (Works with Hot and Cold Water), Subtle Design
Sprite HO2-WH-M High Output 2 Shower Filter with Massaging Shower HeadConverts Free Chlorine to Chloride Salt (Works with Hot and Cold Water)
Berkey Water Filter with Massaging Shower HeadCertified to Filter Chlorine
AquaHomeGroup Shower FilterTraps Chemicals and Sediment, Subtle Design

More Shower Filters Reviewed:

Buying Guide: What’s Really Important When Buying a Shower Filter

Shower filters are small, simple devices. We cannot compare them to whole house filtration or water softening systems that are much larger and more complex and therefore way more effective, but also a lot more expensive.

Simply put, don’t set your expectations too high.

That being said, before you purchase a water filter for your shower here’s everything you need to consider:

Shower Filter Media

Depending on what you want to achieve and which contaminants are present in your shower water, a certain type of filtering media will be more effective than others. For instance:

If you are on a chlorinated city water supply, a regular carbon a.k.a. charcoal water filter seems like the way to go. After all, activated carbon adsorbs all kinds of chemicals from water, such as pesticides, herbicides, and of course chlorine. Another advantage is that carbon filtration is budget-friendly.

However, charcoal is a cold water filter. It exceeds at low temperatures; with hot shower water not so much. Some online sources even claim that in very hot water activated carbon will release some of the impurities it previously trapped.

Probably the better solution for chlorine reduction are multi-stage (carbon) water filters – those that combine regular activated carbon with KDF and other media layers. Another benefit is that each layer will additionally remove one or more specific type of contaminant.

KDF (blend of copper and zinc) is effective against heavy metals – think lead and mercury. In terms of chlorine reduction it may also not perform at its optimum in very hot shower water, but calcium sulfite does. The latter is great for dechlorinating.

Then we have shower filters based on vitamin C. These are very effective at removing chlorine PLUS chloramine from cold, warm and hot water. (Source)

lemon vitamin c

You can learn more about how to remove chloramine from (shower) water here:

You are struggling with hard water? There are shower filters on the market that will remove at least some calcium and magnesium from your water.


Manufacturers can make promises about water contaminant reduction rates all day long, but only NSF/ANSI certifications provide proof.

A Standard 177 certification means a shower water filter has met NSF requirements for chlorine reduction, safety of materials, and structural integrity.

Unfortunately, the standard only indicates that a tested product is capable of eliminating a minimum of 50% free chlorine (not to be confused with total combined chlorine) in water.

Compatibility – Handheld vs. Wall Mounted, Inline vs. Showerhead Filters

Handheld or wall mounted, inline or showerhead – all filters listed on this page fit showers with industry standard ½” connections.

The obvious advantage of inline shower water filters is that you can keep your existing shower head if you want.

Water Pressure & Flow Rate

Most filters for showers work at about 2.5 gpm water flow. Shower head filters with an EPA WaterSense certification have a maximum flow rate of 2.0 gallons per minute. This will save water and reduce your water bill, but you might notice a slight drop in pressure.

Filtration Capacity (Lifespan) & Replacement Cost

Most companies say their shower filters last for around 10,000 gallons of water or 6 months – whichever comes first. However, this only applies under ideal conditions meaning that you must have the best water on the planet.

If you live in an area with hard water you will need to replace your filter far more frequently, maybe every two to three months.

Also, the actual longevity depends on how often and how long you shower.

So you want to double-check that replacement cartridges are widely available. Replacing a filter on a regular basis is vital to ensure that it’s working properly.

Above that, remember that replacement filters come at additional cost. This can become a significant outlay over the course of let’s say 5 to 10 years.

Bottom line: Check the cost and lifespan of replacements before you commit to a certain model.

More Information on Shower Filters

In section one, we reviewed the top rated shower water filters on the market. Next, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions our readers ask about them.

Why Use a Shower Water Filter in the First Place?

First of all, if you already own a proper whole-house water treatment system then there’s probably no reason for you to use an additional shower filter.

If that is not the case, a shower water filter can be a convenient and cost-efficient way to protect your body from potentially harmful contaminants that might be present in your water supply:

Water Disinfectants & Disinfection Byproducts

Do you purify your drinking water before consumption? If so, it’s not a huge leap to consider a shower filter to eliminate as much chlorine, chloramine or any other disinfectant and its byproducts as possible.

What you have to know is that these chemicals don’t have to be ingested to cause health problems such as asthma.


And this is not only about your lungs and the fact that you can breathe easier in chlorine-free bathroom air. Your skin absorbs all kinds of things while you are in the shower. For example, it is estimated that on average more than half of our daily chlorine exposure comes from chlorinated shower water.

On top of that, chlorine damages your hair and skin. It causes dryness due to the fact that it removes oils that your body naturally produces. So take the chlorine out of your shower water and make your skin and hair look great again!

Less to no chlorine will also help with eye irritation and skin conditions like eczema. Not to mention that chlorine-free water smells a lot better. In fact, it doesn’t smell at all.

For more information, make sure to check out the BOS guide on chlorine removal.

Bacteria in the Shower Head?

Back in 2009, a team of scientists conducted a study analyzing showerhead biofilms concluding that “showerheads may present a significant potential exposure to aerosolized microbes (…)“.


In other words, you can try to keep your shower as clean as possible. But if bacteria and other germs form in the shower head which you can’t clean they might rain down on you whenever you are showering.

Other Contaminants in Your Shower Water

Unfiltered shower water can also contain impurities like heavy metals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Ideally, you want to have them removed to keep them off your body.

Home Water Softness As an Aesthetic Factor

Calcium and other hardness minerals make skin dry and hair brittle. A “softening” shower water filter CAN remove some of these elements to relieve issues like dandruff.

Softened water also reduces the amount of soap, shampoo and conditioner that you need due to better lathering which in turn saves you money.

How to Install a Shower Filter + Filter Cartridge Replacements

Almost any shower water filter is easy to install by hand and without tools. The same goes for replacing the filter cartridge every once in a while.

Just check out the following video that will walk you through the process:

(Please keep in mind that exact steps may vary between products.)

Shower Filters: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do shower water filters really work?
    They do. However, a shower filter won’t remove everything from your water. There are different types, but most do a solid job removing chlorine for example.
  • Is it OK to drink shower water?
    Filtered shower water should not be confused with drinking water. It may contain harmful contaminants. Of course, this applies even more to unfiltered shower water. One exception is if you use a whole home water filtration system.
  • Does a shower head filter remove fluoride?
    We may inhale fluoride and absorb it through our skin when taking showers. The good news, there are products that remove some fluoride, just not a lot. One example is the Propur ProMax which removes around 50% fluoride.
  • How to get soft water in the shower?
    Scale is a common problem all over the United States. If you, too, live in an area with high water hardness levels, your best option is to install a whole house water filtration or rather water softening system. A standard shower head filter won’t help you get rid of the minerals. Our tip: Check out the Culligan WSH-C125.
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Questions about shower filters or any other type of water purifier? Ask away!

And don’t forget to come back to this page from time to time as we are going to add new product reviews occasionally.

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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